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Applying theories of capital to understand parent involvement at school as a component of family-school interaction: The special case of children with special needs

Dissertation
Author: Cristian Mihai Dogaru
Abstract:
  This study used a nationally representative dataset of 21,260 kindergartners, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001a), and a conceptual framework of theories of cultural and social capital (Bourdieu, 1986) embedded in an ecological framework (Bronfenbrenner, 2005) to identify unobserved socio-cultural classes in families of kindergartners and investigate these families' involvement at school. The study focused on the differences between families of children with and without disabilities. Latent Class analysis (LCA) was used for determining unobserved group membership in parents. First analysis revealed four socio-cultural classes: a low class of predominantly White, English-speaking, low education, and low socio-economic status (SES) parents; a middle class of predominantly White, educated, English-speaking, and high SES parents; a high class of educated, high SES parents, regardless of race or home language; and an "atypical" class of moderately educated, non-White, and non-English-speaking parents, regardless of their SES. Presence of disability did not influence socio-cultural class membership, but within each class, families of children with and without disabilities differed on a number of characteristics. The second analysis identified three groups of parents based on school involvement: low, medium, and high involved. Group membership was predicted by four family factors: socio-cultural class, family structure, family-school ethnic match, and family's perception of school's involvement practices. Two-parent families, of higher socio-cultural class, with higher ethnic match, and with more positive perceptions of school practices belonged to the higher involvement group. School and teacher factors, including resources, views, and practices, had a weaker influence on parent involvement. School practices for parent-school involvement had only an indirect effect on parent involvement, through parent's perception of school practices. Disability status did not predict parent involvement group membership; however, within each group, the parents of children with disabilities were generally more involved, especially in the low-involvement group. The parents in the atypical and the low socio-cultural classes differed on a number of characteristics, including prevalence of disability and school involvement, differences that a classical SES categorization would more likely obscure. The study has important implications for informing better school-family connections.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page:

INTRODUCTION

.................................................................................................. 1 Definitions

....................................................................................................................1 Family-School Interaction

........................................................................................... 1 Education-Related Parental Involvement

.................................................................... 2 Parent Involvement at School

.................................................................................2 Rationale

......................................................................................................................3 LITERATURE REVIEW

........................................................................................ 6 Theoretical Framework

..............................................................................................6 Ecological Systems Theory

.......................................................................................... 6 Capital Theories

......................................................................................................... 7 Cultural Capital

.....................................................................................................7 Types of Cultural Capital

...................................................................................9 Field, Habitus, and Doxa

.................................................................................. 10 Social Capital

....................................................................................................... 12 Symbolic Capital

.................................................................................................. 15 Why Capital Theories?

......................................................................................... 16 How Do the Systems from the Child’s Ecology Interact?

........................................ 18 Family-School Interaction and Education-Related Parent Involvement

..................... 18 Family-School Interaction

.................................................................................... 18 Education-Related Parent Involvement

................................................................. 19 Parent Involvement for Parents of Children with Disabilities

............................... 22 Factors Influencing Education Related Parent Involvement

...................................... 24

TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONTINUED) Page:

Importance of Parent Involvement

............................................................................ 28 Critiques of Policy and Educational Research Views on Parent Involvement

............ 30 Conclusion

................................................................................................................. 32 THE PRESENT STUDY

..................................................................................... 35 Research Questions

................................................................................................... 36 Specific Aim #1

.......................................................................................................... 39 Specific Aim #2

.......................................................................................................... 40 Specific Aim #3

.......................................................................................................... 41 Specific Aim #4

.......................................................................................................... 43 Specific Aim #5

.......................................................................................................... 44 METHODS

.......................................................................................................... 46 Dataset

....................................................................................................................... 46 Sample

....................................................................................................................... 47 Measures

.................................................................................................................... 48 General Description of the Instruments

..................................................................... 48 Parent Interview

................................................................................................... 49 Teacher Questionnaires

........................................................................................ 50 School Administrator Questionnaire

..................................................................... 51 Kindergartners’ Profile Variables

............................................................................. 52 Variable Used in the Bivariate Comparison

.......................................................... 53 Child Variables

................................................................................................ 53 Family Variables

............................................................................................. 55

TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONTINUED) Page:

School and Community Variables

.................................................................... 56 Variable Used in the Latent Class Family Cultural Capital

.................................. 56 Formative Indicators

........................................................................................ 57 Reflective Indicators

........................................................................................ 57 Parent Involvement at School – The Measurement Model

......................................... 61 Family Social Capital

........................................................................................... 61 School Cultural Capital

........................................................................................ 64 School Social Capital

........................................................................................... 67 Teacher Cultural Capital

...................................................................................... 68 Teacher Social Capital

......................................................................................... 70 Family-School Racial/Ethnic Match

..................................................................... 70 Analysis

...................................................................................................................... 73 Kindergartners’ Profile

............................................................................................. 73 Parent Involvement at School Model

......................................................................... 76 RESULTS

........................................................................................................... 78 Kindergarteners’ Profile (Aim #1)

............................................................................ 78 Kindergartners’ Profile - Bivariate comparison

................................................... 79 Child Variables

................................................................................................ 79 Family Factors

................................................................................................. 80 School and Community Factors

....................................................................... 82 Kindergarteners’ Profile - Latent Class Analysis

.................................................. 83 Latent Class Analysis without the Disability Variable in the Model

................. 83

TABLE OF CONTENTS (CONTINUED) Page:

Latent Class Analysis with Disability Variable in the Model

............................ 96 Parent Involvement at School (Aim #2)

..................................................................... 98 Parent Involvement Latent Classes – LCA Results

................................................ 98 Parent Involvement Latent Classes – Class Characteristics

................................ 100 Family Factors and Parent Involvement at School (Aims #3 and #4)

....................... 104 Full Model: School Factors and Family Factors (Aim #5)

...................................... 109 DISCUSSION

................................................................................................... 117 Kindergartners’ profile

........................................................................................... 118 Specific Aim #1

....................................................................................................... 118 Bivariate comparison

......................................................................................... 119 Latent Class Analysis – Socio-Cultural Classes

.................................................. 123 Parent Involvement at School: Latent Class Model and its Predictors

................. 126 Specific Aim #2

....................................................................................................... 127 Specific Aims #3 to #5

............................................................................................. 128 Disability Status

................................................................................................. 129 Socio-Cultural Class, Family Structure, and Parent Involvement

....................... 130 Family’s Perception of School Activities

............................................................. 131 Parent-School Ethnic Match

............................................................................... 133 School Predictors

............................................................................................... 134 Conclusion

............................................................................................................... 135 APPENDIX A

.................................................................................................... 140 BIBLIOGRAPHY

............................................................................................... 150

LIST OF FIGURES Figure : Page : 1. The representation of family-school interaction and school-related parent involvement as two concepts that overlap

................................................................................3 2. The representation of family-school interaction and school-related parent involvement as two concepts that overlap.

............................................................................. 22 3. The analytical model for parent involvement at school

.............................................. 36 4. Parent Socio-Cultural class operationalization: formative and reflective indicators.

57 5. Parent involvement in activities with the child at home

............................................. 58 6. Parent involvement with the child in activities outside home

..................................... 58 7. Number of extracurricular activities the child participates in regularly

.................... 59 8. Parent’s educational expectation for their child

........................................................ 59 9. Parent involvement with the child in activities related to family’s heritage

............... 60 10. Parent endorsement of normative and non-normative parenting reactions

.............. 61 11. The relative distribution for the variable measuring the number of types of involvement activities the parent has been engaged in during the kindergarten year.

................................................................................................................... 63 12a. School resources indicator: total number of facilities that the school has

............. 65 12b. School resources indicator: playground adequacy distribution

............................. 65 12c. School resources indicator: classroom adequacy distribution

............................... 66 13. School Resources Predictor: Additional funds sources.

........................................... 66 14. Socio-cultural class Latent Class Model, with indicators and predictors

................. 84 15a. Latent Class Analysis socio-cultural class, 3-class solution. x-axis represents the means of the indicators for each class.

............................................................... 85 15b. Latent Class Analysis socio-cultural class, 4-class solution

................................... 86 16. Socio-cultural latent classes, 4-class solution model, based on indicators’ z-scores. The x-axis represents the means of the indicators for each class.

........................ 87

LIST OF FIGURES (CONTINUED) Figure : Page : 17a. Socio-cultural class membership probability by parent education

......................... 90 17b. Socio-cultural class membership probability by socio-economic status

................. 91 17c. Socio-cultural class membership probability by mother’s race

.............................. 92 17d. Socio-cultural class membership probability by family’s home language

.............. 93 18. Percentage White, percentage non-English users, and mean of education SES, by socio-cultural group

........................................................................................... 94 19. Latent Class Analysis for parent involvement at school: the 3-class solution

........... 99 20. The model for parent involvement and family characteristics predictors.

.............. 104 21. Latent parent involvement categories compared across disability status.

.............. 108 22. Parent involvement at school – final model.

.......................................................... 111 23. Path regression coefficients and odds ratio for the full model of parent involvement at school

.......................................................................................................... 112

LIST OF TABLES Table : Page

: 1. Variables and constructs used in the parent involvement at school model

................. 37 2. ECLS-K dataset: parent interview topics

................................................................... 49 3. ECLS-K teacher questionnaire.

................................................................................. 50 4. ECLS-K school administrator questionnaire

............................................................. 51 5. Frequency and marginal frequency distribution for the two operationalizations of disability status: based on parent-reported diagnosis and based on presence of IEP on records.

.................................................................................................. 54 6. Confirmatory Factor Analysis factor loadings for Parent Perception of School Practices construct

............................................................................................. 64 7. Confirmatory Factor Analysis factor loadings for School Resources construct

......... 67 8. Confirmatory Factor Analysis factor loadings for School Practices construct

........... 68 9. Confirmatory Factor Analysis factor loadings for Teacher Views construct

.............. 69 10. Confirmatory Factor Analysis factor loadings for Teacher Practices construct

....... 70 11. Summary statistics for the general profile variables, by disability status, based on the two operationalizations of disability: child diagnosed with a disability and presence of an IEP with the school records

........................................................ 80 12. Socio-economic status (quintiles) frequency distribution, by disability status (child diagnosed with a disability)

................................................................................ 81 13. Parent education relative frequency distribution by disability status (child diagnosed with a disability)

................................................................................................ 82 14. Relative frequency distribution of urbanicity by disability status (child diagnosed with a disability).

............................................................................................... 83 15. Fit indices for four successive Latent Class Analyses for socio-cultural class

.......... 84 16. Parent socio-cultural Latent Class Analysis statistics (indicators’ means for each class), 4-class solution

....................................................................................... 88 17. Socio-Cultural Class odds ratios for predictors

...................................................... 89 18. Racial distribution within the “atypical” class compared with the general population

.......................................................................................................................... 95

LIST OF TABLES (CONTINUED) Table : Page : 19. Frequency distribution for race and home language for the parents in the atypical class, entire sample

............................................................................................ 96 20. The relative distribution in socio-cultural classes, by disability status.

.................... 97 21. The relative distribution in disability status categories, by socio-cultural status

...... 97 22. Fit indices for the parent involvement latent class analysis

..................................... 98 23. Latent Class Analysis for parent involvement at school: class membership probabilities

....................................................................................................... 99 25. Family background characteristics comparisons across disability groups (listwise deletion)

........................................................................................................... 101 26. The relative frequency distribution of parent involvement categories by socio- cultural class for all children in the study (listwise deletion)

............................ 103 27. Logistic regression coefficients (and odds) for the model of parent involvement and family characteristics predictors.

..................................................................... 106 28. Fit indices comparison for the models of latent parent involvement categories, with and without disability status as multiple group analysis

................................... 107 29. Parent involvement measurement model coefficients, standard errors, and p-values

........................................................................................................................ 113 30. Parent involvement structural model coefficients, standard errors, and p-values

.. 114

1

Applying Theories of Capital to Understand Parent Involvement at School as a Component of Family-School Interaction: The Special Case of Children with Special Needs

INTRODUCTION This study used a combined theoretical framework based on theories of capital (social, cultural, and symbolic capital) embedded in an ecological framework to initiate an investigation of family-institution interaction. The term “institution” here refers to the educational system, that is, to the multiple aspects of the educational environment with which children and their families interact. Institution can include schools, special education agencies, and other institutions providing educational and intervention services, as well as professionals such as teachers (general and special education teachers), therapists, early intervention specialists, and educational administrators. For this study, I focused my attention on the interaction between families and the general school setting. This study address a particular component of the family-school interaction, namely, parent involvement at school, with special attention to families of kindergartners with disabilities compared with families of typically developing children. The data were drawn from a large, nationally representative dataset, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K). Definitions Family-School Interaction Family-school interaction is a complex notion that can be conceptualized and studied in different ways, depending on the focus of the research and on the perspective used. It can be analyzed as an outcome or as a predictor for outcomes. It can be studied in terms of quantity or in terms of quality, cross-sectionally or longitudinally. One way to conceptualize family-school interaction is as representing a form of social capital. Social capital is defined as investment in social networks with expected returns (Bourdieu, 1987; Lin, 1999). Families and school form a social network with embedded resources that can be accessed and mobilized for the benefit of all actors involved, children, parents, and school. Regardless of how family-school interaction is conceptualized and operationalized, it can

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be an influential factor in children’s and families’ lives and it, therefore, must be granted serious attention. Education-Related Parental Involvement Another popular construct in the education literature and educational policy that is related to family-school interaction is school-related parental involvement, which is defined as parental involvement in aspects related to academic learning 1 Parent Involvement at School . School-related parent involvement is commonly conceptualized and operationalized based on locus of involvement as parent involvement at home and parent involvement at school. There seems to be confusion, in the educational research and policy fields, related to family-school interaction and school-related parental involvement. In the education literature and educational policy, these two concepts have commonly been presented as representing the same construct. I argue that these two concepts are two different, distinct constructs that overlap, and that they should be clarified in conceptualization, implementation, and research. The area of intersection, i.e., the area that is common to both constructs, is that of parent involvement at school (see Figure 1). Parent involvement at school represents the component of school-related involvement that happens at school and with school professionals; because it involves the school and school professionals, it is also a component of family-school interaction. As Lareau (1987) pointed out, …home-school partnerships, in which parents are involved in the cognitive development of their children, currently seems to be the dominant model, but there are many possible types of family-school relationships (Baker & Stevenson 1986). As in other social relationships, family-school interactions carry the imprint of the social context: Acceptance of a particular type of family-school relationship emerges as the result of social processes .…When home-school relationships are evaluated exclusively in terms of parental behavior, critical questions are neither asked nor answered (pp. 74-75).

1

The literature uses the term “parent involvement in school” or “schooling.” However, to avoid any confusions, I decided to use the term “school-related parent involvement”

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Figure 1. The representation of family-school interaction and school-related parent involvement as two concepts that overlap

Rationale It seems important to study parent involvement at school from the perspective of capital theory embedded in ecological theory because parent involvement at school has strong support from the educational policy and literature. Numerous studies have found that parental involvement in the child’s education at school and at home is important, for a number of outcomes, especially for academic achievement (Barnard, 2004; Christenson, 2004; Coleman, 1988; Epstein, 2001c; Fan & Chen, 2001; Henderson & Mapp, 2002; K. Hoover-Dempsey & Sander, 1995; Hoover-Dempsey et al., 2001; Jeynes, 2003, 2005; Lee & Bowen, 2006; Lin, 1999; McNeal, 1999; Perna & Titus, 2005). Epstein’s (2001a, 2001b, 2002) framework on parental involvement stressed the importance of parental involvement in all aspects of the child’s education, including involvement at school at different levels of involvement. Epstein recommended detailed strategies that educators can use for helping parents to become more involved with their school. Two meta-analyses of the influence of parent involvement on children’s academic achievement reported significant relationships (Fan & Chen, 2001; Jeynes 2003). A Family - school interaction

School - related

parent involvement

Parent involvement at school

Parent involvement at home

School practices and policies Embedded resources Teacher practices and attitudes Teacher involvement in families

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comprehensive literature review conducted by Henderson and Berla (1994) and, later, by Henderson and Mapp (2005) yielded a similar conclusion, noting that one of the important factors in predicting school success is parent involvement at school: “The evidence is now beyond dispute. When schools work together with families to support learning, children tend to succeed not only in school, but throughout life” (Henderson & Berla, 1994, p. 1). Educational policies follow this trend, strongly encouraging parent involvement in school (National Educational Goals, 2000; No Child Left Behind, 2001). For families of children with disabilities, the call for parents to be involved is even more vocal. There are six main principles of the federal law that protects the educational rights of children with disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). Of the six, two principles directly address parents’ participation at their child’s school: Principle 5, “Parent and Student Participation in Decision Making,” and Principle 6, “Procedural Safeguards.” Parents are called to participate in decision making over diagnostic procedures, placement, and services. However, not all voices are so supportive. Other authors take a different stance, warning against the embrace of family involvement in children’s academic education as the main key to student academic success. These authors are especially cautious about parent involvement at school (de Carvalho, 2001; Fine, 1993; Ho, 1999; Horvat, Weininger, & Lareau, 2003; Lareau, 1987, 1996, 2000; Lareau & Shumar, 1996; Pomerantz et al., 2007; Smrekar & Cohen-Vogel, 2001). Among the principal criticisms that these authors note the most important is their observation that commentators tend to overlook the relationship of power between school and family, where families from minority backgrounds (low socio- economic status, racial/ethnic minorities) experience disadvantage compared with more mainstream families. This study uses a capital theory approach, especially that of cultural capital, to explain the differences in parental attitudes and behaviors related to involvement at school. Capital theory, which offers a counter argument to the common parent involvement literature, has to date not been applied in a large, quantitative study. Rather most studies that used cultural capital for understanding parent involvement at school have been conducted within an ethnological framework.

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One challenge in conducting the present study with a large dataset and a quantitative approach lies in the fact that the operationalizations of the various capital theories, especially cultural capital, are difficult and not unanimously agreed upon. However, I considered that it is important to attempt to study parental involvement in school from the perspective of capital theory, using a large dataset and a complex, quantitative approach, because this focus on resources promises to bring greater understanding to this particular – and important – educational issue. To summarize, a comprehensive analysis of parent involvement in school using a theory of capital promises to bring improved understanding to the family-school relationship. The present work aimed at exploring whether the patterns of parent involvement in school can be explained and understood from a set of capital theories, especially cultural capital. Potentially, a cultural capital approach is better than a deficit approach for explaining differences in parent attitudes and behavior related to the school. It is difficult to change families’ culture, but it may be more feasible to attempt to change schools’ policies once these patterns of relationship are better understood. This study focuses on a particular age; while the family-school relationship is thought to be important throughout the school years, I decided to study the families of children in kindergarten as they prepare to move forward in elementary school. The main reason for this age focus is that kindergarten represents a major transition period for children (with and without disabilities) and their families, and thus it is a very important time in children’s and families’ lives (Mangione & Speth, 1998; Pianta & Cox, 1999; Pianta & Kraft-Sayre, 2003). Kindergarten is also a time for establishing competencies critical for later successful outcomes. For many families, the complex system of interaction with the educational system begins in kindergarten, and it can set the tone for future interactions, with a whole range of possible outcomes depending on the quality of these interactions. For most families of children with disabilities, kindergarten is not the first encounter with the educational system; however, enrollment in kindergarten does represent the beginning of interaction with a new, more formal educational setting, and it constitutes a transition into a different system, one that is less family oriented from what families may have encountered previously (Carta & Atwater, 1990).

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LITERATURE REVIEW Theoretical Framework This study will use a theoretical framework composed of theories of capital (economic, social, cultural, and symbolic capital) embedded in an ecological view. The following sections will present the main assumptions and concepts of these theories, and the way they can be employed for the purpose of this study. Ecological Systems Theory The ecological view is the encompassing theoretical framework for this study. It has been routinely used by numerous authors for studying the family-school interaction, either referenced directly or just implied as an unspoken assumption. The main characteristic of an ecological model is that it is composed of a series of systems existing at different levels of organization and complexity that interact with each other: the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, and the macrosystem (Bronfenbrenner, 2004). In our studies, the systems that interact are the child, the family, and the school. The interactions are family-child, family-school, and school-child. If the model is centered on the child, as it should be given that the child is the main beneficiary of the both the schooling and the family-school interaction, these systemic interactions represent, at minimum, two microsystems and one mesosystem. The child resides in two microsystems, the family and the school, whereas the interaction between the child’s family and the school represents the mesosystem. Using an ecological approach for studying family-school interaction is justifiable theoretically. One can study the family-school interaction purely from an ecological perspective. However, it is my opinion that the ecological model is a necessary model but not sufficient. It sets the stage for understanding a phenomenon but does not explain the details. This position is rightly so, for Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory is a large, encompassing theory that can be applied to a great number of particular situations. The particulars of each situation, though, need to be addressed with more specific theoretical approaches. The ecological model speaks of interactions among the systems, family and school in this case, but it does not specify what type of interactions happen and when, how

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they happen and why, or what are the particular factors influencing these interactions. In order to better understand the intricacies of the interaction between the family and the school, this project will build on a set of theories of capital. Following is a short presentation of these theories of capital and then an explanation of the reasons that the investigator chose to use these theories. Capital Theories The concept of capital was defined by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu as “accumulated labor” (1987, p. 244), who further delineated it into economic, cultural, and social resources (1983). The term capital has been used for some time, described, conceptualized, investigated, and applied in different fields. Capital is defined, however, not only in a strictly economic sense but also in a larger, social sense, as an asset that requires an investment of resources in order to be created and which, in turn, can be used to accrue benefits. Depending on the field in which it functions, and at the cost of the more or less expensive transformations which are the preconditions for its efficacy in the field in question, capital can present itself in three fundamental guises: as economic capital, which is immediately and directly convertible into money and can be institutionalized in the forms of property rights; as cultural capital, which is convertible, on certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalized in the forms of educational qualifications; and as social capital, made up of social obligations (“connections”) (Bourdieu, 1983, p. 244) In other words, capital is something that one has to invest and that can be used to obtain benefits. In a short and comprehensive definition, capital is investable, convertible resources. Cultural Capital Bourdieu first articulated the concept of cultural capital in La Reproduction (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1970, 1977) and developed it further in The Forms of Capital (Bourdieu, 1980/1986) and Distinction (Bourdieu, 1984). The concept was defined as “high status cultural signals used in cultural and social selection” (Lamont & Lareau, 1988, p. 153) and has been used to analyze how culture and education contribute to social

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reproduction. Expanded, the concept of cultural capital was further defined (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1977) as cultural goods or values that are transmitted “through class differentiated families and whose value as capital varies with its cultural distance (similarity or dissimilarity) from the dominant cultural culture promoted by dominant agencies of socialization” (Lamont & Lareau, 1988, p. 157, italics in original). Lamont and Lareau (1998) proposed a definition that they hoped would bring some clarification to the polysemy [that] makes for the richness of Bourdieu’s writings, and is standard in French academia.. . . .for this reason I propose to define cultural capital as institutionalized, i.e., widely shared, high status cultural signals (attitudes, preferences, formal knowledge, behaviors, goods and credentials) used for social and cultural exclusion, the former referring to exclusion from jobs, and the later to exclusion from high status groups (p.156, italics in original). The concept of cultural capital was imported into the English language and used in educational research with contradictory results, due to the misunderstanding of the concept by various scholars. Lareau & Weininger (2003) provided an extensive review of studies that used the concept of cultural capital and concluded that, in educational research, two dominant interpretations arose, both representing misunderstandings of the original concept. In the first interpretation, cultural capital was defined as knowledge and familiarity with “high-brow” esthetic culture and cultural products. In the second interpretation, also wrong, cultural capital was considered analytically and causally as distinct from human capital, the later defined as forms of knowledge, competence, and skills accumulated through the process of education. These two interpretations that are dominant in the literature are either incomplete or misinterpretations of Bourdieu’s concepts. First, according to Lareau and Weininger, the “cultural signals” that constitute cultural capital need not be limited to knowledge and consumption of classical culture, such as attending opera concerts and reading the German philosophers; rather, the attitudes, preferences, knowledge, and behaviors that constitute cultural capital vary from society to society and from one historical period to another. Any attitude, behavior, preference, or knowledge that is particular to a social class can qualify. Attitudes toward child rearing and what constitutes a “good parent,” including parenting style and being an involved parent, are examples of such cultural signals that constitute cultural capital. Second, human capital as described by

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Becker (1980, 1993) and defined as the knowledge, skills, and abilities that a person has acquired through the process of education, informal as well as formal, is not separate or distinct from cultural capital. It is actually included within cultural capital, and it is often difficult to distinguish it as a separate type of capital, or to separate the creation and the outcomes of human capital from those of the larger cultural capital. Bourdieu himself (1983) declared that the concept of human capital misses the point that natural aptitudes and educational investment cannot fully predict “the profits of scholastic investment” (p. 48) and that the investment in education (which, in turn, yields human capital as an outcome with further social and economic benefits) is not only of economic capital (time and money), but also of cultural capital: From the very beginning, a definition of human capital, despite its humanistic connotations, does not move beyond economism and ignores, inter alia, the fact that the scholastic yield from educational action depends on the cultural capital previously invested by the family capital. Moreover, the economic and social yield of the educational qualification depends on the social capital, again inherited, which can be used to back it up (p. 48). Types of Cultural Capital Bourdieu (1983) stated that cultural capital exists in three states: embodied, objectified, and institutionalized. Embodied cultural capital. The embodied cultural capital is also known as the incorporated or internalized state; it is represented by legitimate cultural attitudes, preferences, behaviors, tastes, “dispositions of the mind and body” (p. 247), that is, lasting, acquired schemes of perception, thought, and action. A particular form of embodied cultural capital is linguistic capital, defined as the mastery of and relation to language. The embodied state of cultural capital resembles the concept of human capital, as described by Becker (1980, 1993), but is not identified with it. The appropriation, that is, acquisition, of cultural capital starts at the very beginning of an individual’s life through the nurturing and education that he or she gets in the family, and it continues with more formal education at school. Bourdieu maintained that the educational system contributes, by favoring a particular type of cultural capital, to the reproduction of social classes, arguing against the meritocratic claim assumed by public education and by the human capital perspective,

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which states that the position and mobility through the stratified social system can be determined solely based on human capital and merit. Objectified state of cultural capital. This state is represented by transmissible goods such as writings, paintings, books, instruments or, nowadays, computers and other high- tech and high-status gadgets, such as cell phones and iPods. A necessary precondition for possessing objectified cultural capital is the possession of the associated embodied cultural capital, represented by the ability to consume objects, to understand their cultural meaning, to “appropriate” them (Lamont & Lareau, 1988, p. 155). Institutionalized state of cultural capital. Field, Habitus, and Doxa The concept of cultural capital is closely related to other concepts introduced by Bourdieu. One of these concepts, field, represents any social setting that has specific rules in which people and their social positions are located and struggle in pursuit of desirable resources. The school system is a good example of such a social structure, where the actors (children, parents, teachers, and administrators) occupy different positions and interact bringing different resources and aiming at various outcomes. Another concept, called habitus, represents a system of dispositions (lasting, acquired schemes of perception, thoughts, and action). Habitus actually constitutes the embodied state of cultural capital, because it represents the internalization of patterns of modes of thinking, tastes, norms, belief systems, sets of meaning, and qualities of style, and behavior schemes that are characteristic for the social and cultural structure (the field) in which the person develops. The institutionalized form of cultural capital is represented by degrees, diplomas, and other official credentials that certify the embodied capital: . . . the objectification of cultural capital in form of academic qualifications is one way for neutralizing some properties it derives from the fact that, being embodied, it has the same biological limits as its bearer. This objectification is what makes the difference between the capital of the autodidact . . . and the cultural capital academically sanctioned by legally guaranteed qualifications, formally independent of the person of their bearer (Bourdieu, 1986, pp. 247-248).

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Abstract:   This study used a nationally representative dataset of 21,260 kindergartners, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (National Center for Education Statistics, 2001a), and a conceptual framework of theories of cultural and social capital (Bourdieu, 1986) embedded in an ecological framework (Bronfenbrenner, 2005) to identify unobserved socio-cultural classes in families of kindergartners and investigate these families' involvement at school. The study focused on the differences between families of children with and without disabilities. Latent Class analysis (LCA) was used for determining unobserved group membership in parents. First analysis revealed four socio-cultural classes: a low class of predominantly White, English-speaking, low education, and low socio-economic status (SES) parents; a middle class of predominantly White, educated, English-speaking, and high SES parents; a high class of educated, high SES parents, regardless of race or home language; and an "atypical" class of moderately educated, non-White, and non-English-speaking parents, regardless of their SES. Presence of disability did not influence socio-cultural class membership, but within each class, families of children with and without disabilities differed on a number of characteristics. The second analysis identified three groups of parents based on school involvement: low, medium, and high involved. Group membership was predicted by four family factors: socio-cultural class, family structure, family-school ethnic match, and family's perception of school's involvement practices. Two-parent families, of higher socio-cultural class, with higher ethnic match, and with more positive perceptions of school practices belonged to the higher involvement group. School and teacher factors, including resources, views, and practices, had a weaker influence on parent involvement. School practices for parent-school involvement had only an indirect effect on parent involvement, through parent's perception of school practices. Disability status did not predict parent involvement group membership; however, within each group, the parents of children with disabilities were generally more involved, especially in the low-involvement group. The parents in the atypical and the low socio-cultural classes differed on a number of characteristics, including prevalence of disability and school involvement, differences that a classical SES categorization would more likely obscure. The study has important implications for informing better school-family connections.